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Enigma8118

Overlooked/Underrated Rock Singers

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Everybody knows about the Steve Perrys Lou Gramms, Brad Delps, and Geoff Tates of the rock world. For me, some of the most underrated/overlooked singers are:

Tommy Shaw - Styx

Brian Howe - Nugent, Bad Company

Dann Huff - Giant

John Sykes - Blue Murder

Phil Lynott - Thin Lizzy

Phil Mogg - UFO

Derek St. Holmes - Nugent

Sammy Hagar - certainly well known, but doesn't always jump to mind when the "great singers" topic is raised

Tony Moore - Riot

Mike Tirelli - Jack Starr, Riot, Messiah's Kiss

David Byron - Uriah Heep

Robin Zander - Cheap Trick

Jeff Martin - Racer X, Leatherwolf

Eric Martin - Mr. Big

Johnny Edwards - Foreigner, King Kobra, Montrose

Jimi Jamison - Cobra, Survivor

Dave Bickler - Survivor

Max Bacon - Bronz, GTR

Kip Winger - Winger

Ralph Saenz - Steel Panther

Probably the most underrated in my book - David Lee Roth. One of a kind, a lot of swagger, and the master of whistle voice in rock. He made the Halen songs his own. Never understood all of the bashing on him as a singer.

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I definitely second Dann Huff and John Sykes.

Giant was made up of some damn good musicians. They were the real deal, but I think the problem was, they waited a bit too late in the 80's to make a dent before the whole grunge movement a few years later.

John Sykes was a HUGE part of Whitesnake's success, but they average fan doesn't realize it because he was gone not long after the highly successful "Whitesnake" album was released, which made them a major headlining act. He's an amazing singer and guitar player. A total package. Sykes went on to form Blue Murder with Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice. I think the reason they might not have been bigger than they were is due to the same reasons as Giant.

Another singer that comes to mind is Steven Pearcy from Ratt. Not that I think he's "underrated" per se, but it just dawned on me not long ago that I have never heard anyone who sounds like him. No one. He has a very distinct tone.

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Good call on those others you all, and I can't believe that I forgot Joe Lynn Turner, he's one of my favorites, probably a top 10 or 15 vocalist in my book. He probably suffers from what some of the others do with being a replacement singer instead of original member of some higher profile bands. Too, JLT wasn't just replacing really good singers, he had the difficult task of replacing a couple of vocal gods in Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow) and Ian Gillan (albeit for JLT's short stint in Deep Purple).

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Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple/Black Country Communion - Stronger than ever

Darn it, you beat me to it. Glenn is most admired by other pro singers in the biz, describing him as the quintessential rock singer of the 70's, the "singer's" singer. In fact, he thinks of himself as a singer who plays bass guitar, rather than the other way around. It is him and David Coverdale singing duet on "Burn" for Deep Purple.

And with Black Country Communion, he is able to do everything he used to do, saved by sobriety.

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Another one who doesn't get much mention is another Rainbow singer, Graham Bonnett. Singing one of their biggest commercial hits, "Since You've Been Gone." That dude has a voice that is more "rock" to me than even JLT.

Another person who's voice is under-appreciated is Michael Anthony, another former member of Van Halen. Now, he considers himself a bass player who can sing and he sang all the back-up in VH, on albums and live. That is, the only vocal mics that were hot on stage were David's or Sammy's, and Michael's.

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Glenn Hughes is not recognized by the general public as a great singer, but among vocalists he is extremely well respected. On "That Metal Show", Eddie Trunk noted that Ronnie James Dio cited Glenn as his favorite rock singer. To quote the "Get in the Cage" parody of Nicolas Cage from SNL - "that's high praise."

^ Good call on Michael Anthony, the high harmony god.

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On the subject of Uriah Heep, Bernie Shaw, the current and longest running singer, longer than David Byron. For he can sing the entire back catalog as well as anything new. And unlike most singers, checks his ego at the door.

His performance on "July Morning" is just as inspiring as the first time the song was performed, a lifetime ago.

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I think both Brian and Roger from Queen are great. They get overshadowed by the amazing Freddie, as they should, but the other two are great, Brian especially.

Never expected to hear someone bring up Pearcy in a singing thread. While I agree that he's one of a kind, and I do love me some Ratt, I'm not a fan of his voice.

I'll also throw in Phil Lewis from LA Guns into consideration. He's also kept his voice, and they've been around for 25 years.

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Don Dokken in his prime. I always thought he had a very distinctive and 'nice on the ear' tone and vibrato. I also liked the way he chose a more gentle approach to singing in a hard rock setting.

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Glenn Hughes is totally amazing.

Tommy Karevik from Seventh Wonder is also just crazily talented, and was brought to my attention just recently.

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Never expected to hear someone bring up Pearcy in a singing thread. While I agree that he's one of a kind, and I do love me some Ratt, I'm not a fan of his voice.

Yeah, I've always had a neutral stance with his voice. I've never terribly disliked it, but I've never held it in high regard, either. Ratt was always about the songs themselves and the great guitar work for me. I was listening to "Invasion of Your Privacy" in my car a few weeks ago, and for some odd reason, it hit me that I have never heard anyone who even remotely sounds like him.

I'll second Phil Lewis, as well. I saw L.A. Guns about two years ago in a small club, and was surprised at just how good he was live. The whole band as well, for that matter. They hung out with everyone at the bar for about an hour after the show was over, too. Cool bunch of guys.

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My band opened for Phil's version of LA Guns on New Year's Eve a couple of years back, and Phil was really cool. We hung out and had a shot after their show and he was down to Earth and friendly, as was the rest of the band.

I've seen Ratt twice now, both times within the last three years, and Pearcy's had trouble both times. But as you say, the songs in general are the draw. Warren was great both times, and may even be one of the better live guitarists I've seen.

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^ agree on Farner and especially Curci. What Freddie Curci did on the Sheriff album is one of the all time great rock vocal performances laid down IMO. He hit up to C6's and maybe even higher on that record and a lot of his really high notes in that general range were held out for a very, very long time. Nice tone too overall for 'clean voice' type singing, and the really high notes were not screams, they were notes he sang. Though the band was not around for very long, there is a live recording where he shows that he could do it live, too. Most people who know about him are familiar with his long note at the end of "When I'm with You", which is great, but there are other things on that album that are even more impressive to me. Check out "Living for a Dream" by Sheriff. I know he was a forum member here at some point, but I searched for him recently and it seems he is not any longer (or at least I could not find him).

It seems that at least some of that incredible range was due to his being very young back then. Later on, "When I'm with You" was performed live a full step lower than the original and more recent recordings I've seen of him show that his voice did not retain the same quality as when he was in Sheriff. That album material would be extremely difficult for anyone to do consistently though. He was a great one but never really had the type of success that such a rare and impressive voice deserved despite some success after-the-fact with Sheriff and later on with Alias.

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Guest Cyr

Dave Bickler (Survivor)

Eric Martin (Mr Big)

Jeff Martin (Racer X)

All killers in their prime.

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